LINE Blockchain Monthly Newsletter: September 2022
Apologies for the late arrival of this month’s newsletter, but we needed a little extra time to get it right and ensure it was packed with useful and interesting news for you. As the year draws to a close, LTP (the operator of LINK and LINE Blockchain), LINE NEXT (operator of the DOSI platform), and LINE Xenesis (operator of LINE NFT and our LINK business in Japan) are all working hard to make our products and services the most intriguing and successful ones around. As a special treat this month, check out the extended interview with the CEO of LINE Xenesis and the Business Director of LINE NEXT.
⎮ Highlights & Main News
DOSI Beta Getting Close to Launch
With the release of the DOSI teaser website, a variety of IP (AlphaCrewz, Now Drops, Hellbound, DIA TV, and APOKI) was introduced to the DOSI Store. DOSI Store is a space where companies and brands can sell NFTs, and the global beta version including Japan will be released in the third quarter of this year.
LINE BITMAX’s 3rd Anniversary
With 92 million monthly users, including a large pool of younger users, LINK has been ranked as the second-most popular digital asset on LINE BITMAX in all generations except for those in the 20s. To celebrate the 3rd anniversary of LINE BITMAX, we released catchy infographics breaking down the service’s popularity by age group, gender, service growth rate and more.
LINK on Gate.io Exchange
LINK is now available on Gate.io, a promising crypto exchange with more than 1,300 crypto assets for trading and more than 12 million users in 130 countries. By supporting LN/BTC and LN/USDT pairs, LINE plans to further expand LINK’s liquidity and strengthen its ecosystem.
[Interview Article] ZVC x LINE Xenesis
Value Beyond Investment: The Essence of Blockchain by LINE Xenesis
LINE Xenesis explains how crypto assets and NFTs are more than just “investment and speculation”, and can have a positive impact in reality.
- The changing value of an object in the blockchain
The frustration of not being able to prove digital value is being resolved with the recent advent of NFTS, and the roles and meaning of objects can vary when blockchain technology is applied to it.
- An ordinary service that is used by ordinary people
The perception and learning experience of crypto assets by Japanese and global users are very different. LINE Xenesis aims for a fair and user-friendly NFT marketplace that gives equal opportunity to everyone, rather than creating “wealth” for only a few.
LINE Xenesis will actively utilize and promote LINE NFT in order to increase awareness and understanding of NFTs and make them easy to use for all, as well as to keep pace with global trends and market changes and improve service functionality.
[LINE Blockchain Interview]
How is LINE Blockchain handling the coming end of crypto winter by Woosuk Kim, the CEO of LTP
■ Hello, Woosuk. Thank you for taking the time for this interview. Could you please introduce yourself?
Of course. Hello, my name is Woosuk Kim, and I’m the executive director of LINE NEXT — a new platform for Web3 businesses. I’m also the CEO of LTP, operator of LINE’s blockchain businesses.
■ It’s been over 4 years since the LINE Blockchain project started. As a founding member of the project, do you remember the atmosphere and situation when the project first began?
Things were very different in 2018 when the LINE Blockchain project first started. The market was still very young, without even basic regulations in place, and there was a general lack of understanding of blockchain cryptocurrency. If I said that this was a gamble, it would be an understatement.
But everyone, including the board of directors of LINE, believed that blockchain technology would be the next big thing for LINE. I think this vision — that the project would be a really big success — is what led to LINK, which has a similar spelling to and nuance as LINE. We’ve moved quickly, both within and outside of Korea, to release a digital asset of our own. When we first released the LINE Token Economy, the cryptocurrency market, external views, and situations were all equally negative. However, we’ve always had a clear promise to return value to our users and create a bigger network based on rewards.
■ What inspired LINE to invest in blockchain technology? Weren’t people inside and outside of the company worried?
Rather than being directly opposed to our project, there were some worries about the direction we were heading in; some were worried that LINE Blockchain would turn into a leverage business based on hype.
Back then — and even now — digital assets were subjected to a lot of speculation and markets that overheat easily. This was even more the case at the beginning of the project, and there was also the added disadvantage that there were no previous examples to base our plans on, which made it very difficult to prove the innate value of blockchain itself. I think we expected the public to be excited by the fact that a global company like LINE was issuing coins and running a blockchain business.
One point was that we moved away from simple investment profits and tried to communicate what blockchain technology was, along with a realistic plan, to mainstream consumers. If we just wanted profits, I don’t think we would have been so conservative… (laughter). We’re focused on creating real service value and demand with our users.
■ This might not be the case in all projects, but what you’ve said sounds very different from a profit-based project. What do you mean when you say that this project is going down a different path than other projects?
It is true that the project took a long time to materialize. Korea, for example, introduced the Specific Financial Transaction Information Act for cryptocurrencies last year, and many other countries have been going through structural remodeling, which delayed the project further. We had to decide on the business stance we would take on these regulations, and multiple reviews were put in place during the establishment and revision of the token policies. So, we can say that LINE’s conservative tendency was the main culprit in the project’s delay.
I believe that we need to maintain an attitude that does not make speed the highest priority, but rather, focuses on details. Acceleration may be difficult now, but rather than just concentrating on Japan like the past four years, we moved on to putting the project in multiple countries including Korea through LINE NEXT last year. We think this should probably improve the situation.
■ What about having started as a private chain?
LINE Blockchain started off as a private structure, which meant there were a lot of limitations and difficulties in managing a community. Until now, the community was centered around investors who own LINK, and it didn’t support developers or other groups in communicating or making decisions. I don’t regret the path we’ve gone down, but I do wonder what would have happened if we had moved to a public model earlier.
We weren’t confident in taking risks with the Ministry of Finance in Japan, who already had put a lot of trust in LINE and LINE services, and there was the added risk of internal resistance, but the private structure was maintained to allow listing in Japan. I sometimes think that if we started as a public chain, perhaps we would’ve had a stronger and bigger global community by now.
As we’ve publicized in our business plan at the start of this year, LINE Blockchain is preparing to make the public mainnet, and we hope to encourage more participation from holders and developers. Our business model was seemingly closed, which led to negative reactions, but I believe that can be improved through active communication and being proactive.
■ So it sounds like you walked down a different path just for the Japanese market, right?
Japan is a very specific market, and its trends and speeds differ from the global market. Its distinct culture of handwritten records and manual checking reflect the Japanese people’s emphasis on prudence. Even when reviewing the same regulations, Japan tends to be very conservative in their approach, which makes Japan a very important yet sensitive market for LINE Blockchain. This also means that the market is very difficult to enter, but once entered, one can monopolize it easily.
There has been a lot of success in Japan that is not well known to the global community. Various NFT projects from large partners such as Dentsu or Softbank were successfully onboarded to the DOSI platform, but since the infrastructure they built was not well known to the global community, many users including Korean users felt that the business and decision-making process was slow and laborious.
Now, we are preparing for a bigger impact through the DOSI platform in Japan and countries around the world, and we can’t make any more excuses in terms of speed. It’s time to accelerate, and if we fail to do so, we will only brand ourselves as a project that’s been left behind. That’s why we are trying our best to fulfill our roles and responsibilities with renewed tension and determination.
■ LINE Blockchain dreams of growth and success through DOSI. With that in mind, what kind of Web3 future are you envisioning?
Web3, in my opinion, is an internet that’s owned by the user and where they can gain economic profits and participate politically (service governance). Owning something means that revenue has to be generated and that one has to be able to participate in the decision-making process of making those things better. Good technology that can bring this to life includes the blockchain and token economy.
The market currently is seeing a variety of approaches to and opinions about Web3. A №1 NFT marketplace with million service users is a highly successful one, but it is only used by specific native crypto users. We need to move toward a time when your friends, your parents, and even your children can freely and naturally trade and enjoy NFTs without requiring additional explanations. I think there should be an opportunity for us to overcome the basic notion that only certain services monopolize the market. The best way of doing that is by diversifying technologies that can act as a bridge between Web 2.0 and Web3 while providing convenience to users and advertising the innate value of the blockchain.
■ What about the DOSI Platform, that your team recently released?
The first step toward the growth and success of Web3 will be DOSI. You may collect Bitcoin, but you can’t use it anywhere in real life. However, the only method of trading NFTs is cryptocurrency. NFTs can hold various concepts such as memberships, the legal relationships of fandom, the metaverse of a game, and much more. So, in my mind, this is the last concept that can activate the blockchain, cryptocurrency, DeFi, DAO, and more. The last concept that will be understood in a three-dimensional virtual world where social, economic, and cultural activities are being carried out, just like in real life.
Now is the time to advertise NFTs and create a solid foundation for Web3. We still don’t have a payment method where users around the world can perform C2C transactions, so we’re aiming to create a completely new service that prioritizes accessibility and practicality. NFTs have been a worldwide phenomenon since last year, and I think they’re in their growth phase now. The projects that are being unveiled now will be the starting point of its growth, and DOSI will be a part of it. Hopefully, the next 1–2 years will be the most dynamic and eventful.
■ What is the most important thing to LINE Blockchain right now?
Speed and direction. Projects that move quickly and attract the spotlight in bad markets — like right now, in the so-called “crypto winter” — have something great. This is the time to prove ourselves. The hype is gone, so this is the best time to show indices based on real users and gain their trust.
Crypto native projects that have shown massive performance are missing these user indices. The one thing that you can’t lie about is the user index — about how many people are using the services — but in reality, the big transactions are coming from a small, select group of users. “100–200 million users are investing in the exchange, but only a few are contributing to service growth?” What we are seeing here is that there is a need to create a service that fits the blockchain market logic — one that creates a bigger foundation for the market rather than relying on short-lived hype. To reiterate, it’s time for us to ramp up and make a name for ourselves.
Blindly copying NFT projects in the current market will not lead to better results. We need to maintain a clear direction that can differentiate LINE Blockchain’s mainnet and NFT platform but that can also reach 100 million users. And of course, we can’t sacrifice speed.
■ How can you get to a service with a massive number of users?
With “zero base” thinking. One thing that’s necessary is setting up and analyzing an objective from square one — free from the traditions and conventions that are familiar to specific situations or conditions.
There were a number of messenger services fully backed by the resources of the famous portal service companies when LINE started its own messenger a decade ago. Unlike the big portal service-like projects, LINE was led by a group of less than 10, but with a specific focus on the basic characteristics of the messaging function and the way to please users. This small but powerful tenacity and faith led LINE to success.
Of course, LINE’s road to success over the past 10 years was not easy — timing and luck are both important factors in success — but I hope that our teammates who are working on LINE Blockchain’s next 10 years will have a “square one” mindset.
■ What do you mean by finding an answer somewhere between old (Web 2.0) and new (Web3)?
I think there lies a true answer underneath the point between Web 2.0 and Web3. The necessity of Web3 in leading our future will be defined somewhere between the conservative approach to preserving the legacy and the progressive approach to moving forward. It may not be perfectly accurate to compare Web 2.0 and Web3 to conservativism and progressivism, but right now there is a large number of radical elements in Web3. In order to stabilize our position as a service with value in this ever-changing market, we need to provide a standard. We can’t keep yearning for something new in chaos.
We need to be a service that encourages people to think “Wow, I can’t believe I only just now found out about this amazing thing! So this is what NFTs and Web3 are!” instead of making them think “Why can’t I understand what’s going on?” If a good service or product is not being understood by the public, it’s not because the public is stupid; it’s because our explanations weren’t good enough or because the product is not that good. To create new value in Web3, we may have to let go of some of our legacy ideas, but we have to consider the user-centered value and expertise in Web 2.0 that led to billions of people using those services.
■ Is there anything else you want to add?
The vision of LINE Blockchain is clear — “Designed For Everyone.” The start of this vision comes from making a service that a massive number of people may really use, and we all are definitely working with passion to make this vision come true. The journey to realizing that vision is not so easy, with tons of trials and errors when walking on a path that is different from others. We still do have many checks along the way because we will be the most fastidious team in taking risks and reviewing compliance issues.
I’m sure there are growing pains that we must go through in order to create a service and platform on a completely different scale that has never been imagined by anyone. Though it may seem that there are no major changes on the outside, it still means we’ve been building a strong foundation on the inside, strong enough not to crumble. So, the past four years have been a time of setting down roots. Now is the time to move fast and rapidly. We will work hard to develop an overwhelming service by unfolding everything we have prepared and learned so far. Thank you.
⎮ LINK Overview
❖ Data is based on the last day of each month.
■ LN Market Cap: 185.08mn USD
■ LN Price: 29.36 USD
■ Monthly Trading Volume: 337.87mn USD
■ Circulation: 6,304,682 LN
■ Officially Listed Exchanges: BITFRONT, LINE BITMAX, Bithumb, MEXC Global, Gate.io
Follow LINE Blockchain on Twitter or Facebook for the latest news and updates. A monthly newsletter is issued on the 10th of each month or the following business day in the event of a weekend or holiday. Advance notice will be made through social channels should any delay, omission or other issues occur.
**This newsletter is issued by LINE TECH PLUS (LTP), which operates LINE Blockchain.
**Disclaimer: LINE TECH PLUS informs the business and services related to the LINE Blockchain ecosystem as an operator of LINE Blockchain Mainnet and the LINK issuer. Please note that the business entities differ by service.